SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Colombia).

In the northeast of the country, located on a plateau, is Bucaramanga, the capital of the department of Santander. The city is home to 581,000 inhabitants and has the lowest unemployment rate in Colombia, The decades of armed conflict has also displaced thousands of families, and created a challenging environment for children to grow up in. In recent years, many refugees have also arrived from neighboring Venezuela.

Since 1999, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Fort Portal.

6.7 Million
People are internally displaced

Children treated unequally

Because of violence among guerrillas, paramilitary groups, and the state’s forces, Colombians continue to be forced to leave their homes. Displaced children and young people often do not go to school and their most basic needs are not taken care of. However, it is hard to know how many children and young people are affected – cases are underreported because of threats, fear of reprisals, a lack of awareness of protection services, and long distances to reporting centres.

Of the population lacks access to sanitation

Children risk illness

Displaced people and migrants have left their homes, jobs, and support networks behind. But when they arrive in a new place, local infrastructure is often not sufficiently available for them. For example, only 18% of the country’s population is using safely managed sanitation services, which means that they have access to facilities that are not shared with other households, from which excreta are safely disposed of or treated off-site. Meanwhile, a vast majority of residents is using basic or limited sanitation services – a fact that illustrates the current challenges in terms of living conditions and infrastructure development.

Your support makes a difference for children in Bucaramanga

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Emergency services
Were possible
On his way to become a computer scientist. SOS Children's Villages helps families create an environment in which their children can develop and flourish (photo: SOS Children's Villages Colombia).

How your support helps in Bucaramanga

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Protecting children in emergencies
In times of conflict and natural disasters, we respond to the urgent needs of children and families. In emergencies, SOS Children’s Villages focuses on keeping families together, and provide practical, psychological and medical support. If children are separated from their families, we look after them and work to reunite them. We also provide immediate practical assistance. For example, we create child-friendly spaces where children are cared for.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.